This post is only intended for me. It has been truncated purposefully to allow for difficult reading.
Thank for your ignoring it! =)
Worldliness is pervasive, how do you define culture, and the culture of our world? American culture is pervasive, and worldliness is the spirit of that culture, the world that we see around us.
Yet, Jesus gave us a way to combat the world, God’s word, so we are rooted in something that is before the world, and the tradition that ought to stand far above the world.
From the word we know what ought to be praised and rejected from the world. That is specific revelation, and that is how we know what Jesus cares about.
Natural revelation tells us what is life, who am I, what do I desire, why can’t I get it, etc.
People who are of the word will be hated by the world, and God’s word makes you at odds with the world.
Those who try really hard in the world reveal how much they want to be of the world, those try hards reveal who they actually are and what the affections of their heart are.
For a season, in this period of time that we are in the world, Satan is king, and the world is given to the world ruler, and Satan is ruler of this kingdom.
We as Christians are spies in enemy territory, and we are supposed to live like that, act in accordance to that, and be wise, shrewd, and capable spies in that regard.
We are spies that occasionally recognize one another, Christians who occasionally see other Christians living in the world but not of the world.
Jesus said that when I am lifted up, the ruler of this world will be cast out, and Jesus breaks the power of this world and its ruler, but does not take away the status of the ruler.
So Jesus has come, and he is here, but not yet fully to take away Satan and his rule over our world. It’s like DDay;
Although the war was over, and we knew it, there was still a battle to be fought, and we needed to take out a ruler who is Satan, and all the powers of Satan that we deal with is merely his powerful shudder of an already defeated enemy.
Jesus said it this way, that the world has no claim on him, and Satan has no claim on him. Satan gets the world, and gets to be ruler of the world system. The world is his, and it makes sense for Christians to be against the world then.
It makes sense that I would find resistance from being in the world. Because they hated Jesus, they will hate me, and that is the way it will be for a time, when Satan is the ruler of this world and Satan makes the rules.
In the text, Satan has blinded the minds of the unbeliever, and has shaped the minds of people into their own perceptions of what is considered normal and right and acceptable. They twist what is normal, so that our normality is shameful to show.
Why is it so hard? Why is it so difficult to live in this way, to have to go about the world in this way, as in the world but not of the world, and why don’t people see reason, and logic, and find that to be enough to examine the evidence of God?
Why is it embarrassing for us to mention it? Why is it rejected and met with hostility by so many, and why does it seem like a losing battle at times, when ministry is hard, and people do not respond the way we want them to? It is because the ruler of this world is Satan, and all that we do goes against the God of this world who seeks to make our life difficult.
The tactics are the same; mockery and maligning, insecurities, and anti everything that we stand for.
Essentially, anything that is perceived to be higher, is mocked, because they do not think there is anything higher than themselves. They can rest in the commonality of so many in this way, and they can find strength in their numbers in the world.
(SIde note, there are those who say there are more Christians than Atheists, and atheists are the minorities who are oppressed and never given I voice. I say distinction is between those who live as if they are not of the world and those that do, and many people who call themselves Christian would therefore be a part of the majority, and that would make us who try to live in accordance to the teachings of Jesus the truly oppressed minority.)
It makes sense that what I stand for would be hated by the world system. Often I say to myself, who needs this; if I just become a part of the world, and live according to my own fleshly desires, I would feel so much better, be less stressed.
I would have a job I wouldn’t hate, because I would be living it for myself, and my own rationale and purposes. The people at my work would love me, and see me as one of them, as more than just one who does fine work, but as committed.
Yet, what they say is that you seem to be controlled by another power than us, than the company, another force in your life, another ‘God’ and we want no part of that with us.
So they look at you and the world, and see you marching to a different tune than them, so they think, this person is weird, and I don’t want this person to be a part of me, my company, or what I stand for, as they see that we see them as just a job.
Even the way that we live is different; we raise our kids differently, in community instead of a singular family, and everything in our world is already arranged so that for those who try to work around the system, and not with the system, they fail and cannot get ahead. Do I feel this kind of friction? O yes I do. Often I say to myself, if I did not have ministry occupying my life, I would have so much more time, to research people, philosophies, writing techniques, writing jobs, and other ways to make much of who i am. I say to myself, man, money is so hard to get, and I am unhappy because I am living in this way, with people paying for my rent. Forget that, let me just live at home, with family, save money, it’s the same city! I won’t need to be with community, I can just live accordance to myself. While i’m at it, let’s just keep up the pride of my accomplishments, let’s go and become that teacher, and get the approval of students, and take pride that I did something different than others. Let’s be with Meredith, let’s amuse our flesh and minds, let’s give it all up and give in, and just make one another feel good. Let’s please the family by hanging out with them more, doing what they ask of me, or let’s just agree with them about Jesus and not talk about it, because it causes arguments and strife. Let’s give up on family altogether, such a mess, just abandon them and leave them to their own devices, let them kill each other, let’s not care about their eternal souls.
This. would. be. truly. worldly.
The world is hostile towards me, and I live differently than what the world would have me do, and I live differently than what I wish I could allow myself to do. The world is hostile to how I live, and wants to force me to live in accordance to its ways.
So it’s tricky and subtle though. If it was obvious, and the world was a depraved place, of course that would be revealed, and the world would seem very undesirable, and we can see that. But if there is socially acceptable worldliness, then its hard.
As Christians, you can just see God as something you experience a few hours on Sunday, and the rest of the time of your life you can live in accordance to the world, without any friction, without any drama, as the world and Christians all over say.
So then what makes a Christian and a Non-Christian different? Simply because they do something different on Sundays? Otherwise they can share a common status, and share a common level of income, and a common living arrangement?
That is the American dream, isn’t it? To have that life of balance, of the world and God by the hour, and that makes it seem like living a life with the best of both worlds is right and a sign of skill, of a comfortable life and a comfortable afterlife?
This makes no sense. Yet, very quickly, it can seem like it makes perfect sense. That is how our world operates, and we are in the world, so this is what Jesus meant for us to live in the world but not of the world, because of how we live Sundays. (Side note, I think more than the way we spend our time, it’s how we see God’s time, as something unimportant and not central; we center God and fit God into our schedule, we do not fit our schedule around God, because our schedule is our time.
By treating God in this way, we are in fact not treating God as God, but as ourselves as God, and we can somehow use God and what that offers to give us what we want, whether that be the perception of good God-honoring Christians, or heaven.
Separately, this calculating mindset reveals how sin might manifest itself, as we think about how best to utilize our time for Jesus, we can quickly see how that takes Jesus away from the center, as it is “our time” for Jesus, and not His time for Him. The hyper-efficient and time-conscious J, can therefore miss the heart of God entirely, even as they think they are doing it all for God, and doing enough for God, and giving it all for God, and not legalistically treating God’s work as tasks and duties.)
The person who lives this way will be praised for this way of life, and they will receive many things from the world, all the while thinking they have Jesus too. They make it seem like instinct is Godly; the instinct to maximize time to benefit the self.
It’s instinct to please people around you, and they make it seem like if you can please God and the world, then it is worthy of praise. But of course, what is it about Christianity? It is it about pleasing God? No; we are sinners who cannot do so.
So what would this person say about the difference between a Christian and a Non-Christian? They would respond that Christians believe differently, they believe in a personal creator.
You ask them, so okay, then is morality subjective, or are there absolute truths and morality? They would respond, yes I believe in moral truths.
So you ask them, okay so do you believe in an afterlife, or just this one? They would say they believe in an afterlife.
So then the question you ask would be who is Jesus, and they would say, Jesus is Lord and savior.
A person can respond like this, and answer like this, but still be entirely bought into the world system, as they live in the pursuit of glorifying the self, and the well-being of the family.
The same affections of the heart for these people and Non-Christians alike.
So, Do you love the Lord? What is the affection of your heart, Andrew? Is it for her? or is it for Him? What are you anxious about, what concerns you?
The world honors this kind of life that is anxious about what it wants you to be anxious about. The world honors a house swept clean, someone who has everything outwardly handled, and is not wrapped up in debauchery, or uncoolness.
These people could have the right doctrine, and could state it as such, but they are definitely still in the world and are of the world.
Worldliness is loving the world, and the world is very appealing, and very easy to want to love. The world is glorified to be loved, and it is sophisticated, and marveled at, and it is right to place that sort of study, and that sort of desire for the world.
The affections of the heart. So what affects me? What affects my heart, is it her, is it him, is it anything at all? Sure, I can rationalize it and say nothing affects me in the end, but what affects me at first? What pokes at me, nags me, punctures me?
Whoever does the will of God abides forever, so is that what affects me, the love of God? That is what its all about; love. It might sound cheesy to say, but it’s true, that it is all about love, and loving that which is worth loving.
All that is in the world, is met with the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride of life itself. “For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.”
It follows this sort of progression in people. When we are young, we are just fleshly animals, wanting to be satisfied, wanting our cravings to be met through the world, whether that be through food, or sex, or comfort.
When we get older, we start to see things we want, idolize things we want, and technology, and television, and we want to possess objects of glamor and value in the world.
As we are old, we take pride in our life, our accomplishments, and the ways in which our life turned out better than others, or the life that the world has given to me. It is this sort of life that fits in with the way of the world.
So when we buy into the world, we begin to believe the silly. How can our desire for heaven be fulfilled by human desires, and physical substances? How can drugs deliver us from our desires?
Drugs and our addictions do not deliver as much as it makes us long for more. It is this longing that lies at the heart of our struggles after the desires of the flesh.
Our eyes are so colored by this craving, for things int he world, far more than a sexual craving, because more than that, the body wants comfort.
Which is ironic, because if the body craves comfort, at what point will they be most comfortable? In a coffin. People unwittingly desire death if they desire comfort. Life to them is merely to be depraved, or to engage in non-life as a kind of comfort.
To party hard, or to veg. This life of mediated comfort is simply worldliness. That is what we think of as desirable, when we think of people who have an easy life, the capacity to do both of those things.
We have a desire for beauty, the shiny, the glamor of consumer goods. If that is our chief preoccupation, external beauty, then we look for that in people, human beauty, and we feed the desires of our eyes, and we long to possess them as objects.
More than the visible, we have the desires of our imagination, the eyes of the mind, as we see the life we could have, the stuff we could have that money can buy, as we fantasize with darkened eyes, about the future that fits in with our comfort.
So for me, as I lift up my eyes, what do I fixate on? What do I see that I want for myself? The eyes of my heart, what are they looking at?
Above all, we are dutiful people, who come to church, and at our church, do a lot for church. Yet, it is not about duty. It is about God. Where are the eyes of my heart wandering towards? What do I feast upon, as the life that I desire?
If I desire an easy Christian life, then it has everything to do with comfort, nothing to do with sacrifice, and nothing to do with God.
If you obsess over things that have nothing to do with God, then that is the obsession regarding the pride of life. Achievements, glorify, and to be the one who is praised, even in the works we do in the name of God.
To be very productive and generative in this way, to plan your life and organize your life and construct your life to fulfill the imagination of your darkened eyes, is to pretend that you have achieved something more awesome than you think.
Are you awesome? Are any of us awesome? Do I have the pride of life in me, and do I rely on things i’ve done to defend how awesome I am?
Our identities as Christians cannot be based on stuff of the world, on achievements, as we are not made of just stuff.
The one who should open his life to Christ cannot do so, because they are wrapped up in the pride of life, with the invictus of their own abilities, and the power they see in themselves as the top of the world.
The scientific mind would be one who would consider the claims of God, but arguably what keeps them from doing so is not the problem with religion, but their own sense of self-sufficiency.
They are offended by God, because God offends their perceptions of their world and what they think matters. The maddens of that; how God offends us? He’s God, we’re human! The only way it makes sense for them is to say that I am a God too.
So we’re Loki from the Avengers. Master of my own fate, Captain of my soul.
Worldliness is complicated, which is why many churches don’t preach against it to their congregation of ‘Christians’ It seems to follow a warped logic of God created the senses, so why is it wrong to please our senses and sensual pleasures? When would it ever be wrong to please our senses, when would we be wrong to use the world to please ourselves? What captures people? What is the affections of the heart? What is wrong with this way of living for a Christian?
These are questions that never get asked, and we just take it for granted that things are just the way they are.
So none of these things are sinful, having nice things, or being comfortable. It’s not a sin to be rich, it’s not a sin to sleep. Because of this, worldliness can creep in when you least expect it.
That’s why you need someone who can love you very specifically, to cautiously see your life, examine your life, to speak to worldliness if they see it in your life.
Stuff is stuff, food is good, gluttony is bad. Fear of not having the amount we crave and the amount we are accustomed to, is what keeps us worldly.
So what is it that I crave more of, and how do I think of God that allows me to give in to those cravings? Is God merely an input–> output engine, where I give God my time, energy, money, and he gives me community, comfort, and heaven?
Do I have a love of the Father, or a love for what the Father can give me? God gives good things, and is the giver of all good things, but if I have money and I say I do things in the name of stewardship of my money, that is what lies to Christians. It is proper stewardship to horde my money, as God gave it to me to protect myself from financial harm. It is proper stewardship to focus on getting more money, and doing what it takes to get the next promotion, and the next level of income. It is proper stewardship to show my wealth to impress others, so that they can believe in God too, because I am rich and can say I am rich for God. Total Absurdity.
The love of the father is not in such a person who says such things. Love is supposed to grow, and just as the love I have for my friends have grown, the love for the new things then becomes more loving towards those things.
My love for Jesus and God grows and ought to grow; it is not supposed to grow cold. I am called to have love for this world, because Jesus’ words say the people in this world are in need of love, for they love stuff and not God.
Do not love the world, or the goods, or the salary, because those things are merely tools, used to win souls for the kingdom of heaven. Do not get enamored by tools instead of what the tools can do for the kingdom.
The world is passing away, and the desires pass too, but those who abide with Jesus, remain forever. So, I am to do the will of God. So if we believe Jesus, why we build our life upon stuff, if eternities of people, and souls of people are at stake?
All of that is the passing away of stuff, but in Jesus we have the abiding of the eternal. It is therefore really good news, and therefore incredibly desirable, and rational, and right, but the world has the power in numbers, and people take its comfort.
Argumentation therefore does not work on madness, as people can’t help what they love. Yet, friendship with the world is enmity with God, God wants to be our heavenly Father, and here we are giving other things authority in our lives instead.
Jesus says that he has given us God’s name. What is God’s name to Jesus? it’s Father. No one else in history has taught this way, so personally, no rabbi has ever called God ‘daddy.’ That is where Jesus’ source of strength lies, his identity.
Jesus says that everyone will leave him, all his disciples will leave him, but that’s okay, because Jesus is not alone, his father is with him. That’s why he can instead comfort us with his words, even though he knows he is the one who will go through extreme discomfort. He says to us, “in the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
God wants to be God, our heavenly father wants to be our heavenly father. This is why when we love the world, things that are not Him, and are not worthy of those who are of Him, God is rightfully angry, and we see the harsh justice of God in OT. The chief problem is that they didn’t look to God as their savior, they looked for other things to save them instead, other Gods, authorities, philosophies. Let the world offer whatever, to dwell in the tents of the wicked would be to be a friend of the world, and therefore it would be enmity with God.
But how do you call someone on this, and say, hey, I think you’re being too worldly of a Christian. You can’t! How do you know this perfectly in yourself? You don’t! THe only thing you can do, and the right thing that you should do, is to doubt yourself. It is right to say, O Lord, search my heart and know me O God, because I do not know myself as you do. Is this cynicism, or is it merely a recognition of how in this world, this is the caution that we must take, as we are behind enemy lines?
So Godliness with contentment is great gain, but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation into a snare into many senseless and harmful desire that plunge people into ruin and destruction. How baffling is this, that we live this way?
So, we’re not talking about those who desire to be rich so that they cheat people with pyramid schemes or overt thievery, we’re talking about people who devote their life to their jobs, and do what is senseless in order to get the comfort of stuff.
Don’t argue with the word of God, don’t desire to be rich. But who doesn’t desire to be rich? Everyone desires to be rich, even though we might rightfully condemn it in ourselves afterwards. Initially, we definitely desire to be rich.
How do we combat this desire? By desiring other things, and by desiring to be rich towards God and people. Then you can say, man, it would be nice to be rich, but at least i’m not occupied by temptation for riches, or caught up in a snare for it. There are many people in our world, older people, who have lived as the world demanded, and found it lacking. Yet they have more money than they know what to do with. Slowly they despise the world a little less, and they began to love it more.
That makes sense to love money, because the opposite makes no sense. Of course you would desire money, it would seem wrong to desire poverty! Who says to themselves, I want to be poor? So what then is at the heart of my desires?
What does not make sense to the world, and what am I finding friction in as a result of living differently than the world would have me live? There are those who call themselves Christian but then drift away from the faith, oftentimes due to the world.
So as I think about God, and his Word, I am blessed by God and his word, and I find joy in adjusting my life to the will of God. I would therefore find it a pure joy to be grateful for people who become Christian, and enamored of people to be saved.
If I lack this, then could it be that i’ve allowed the world to encroach upon my own life? “Check yourself before you break yourself.” Do we grow cold towards God when we grow warm towards the world?
Maybe i’m tired. I might just want autonomy. My heart wanders, and it grows in affection for things that are not God or God-honoring. My theology might be right, but my heart might be given over into the world.
Eventually, if i’m not careful, I might forget what I know through theology. Will the claims of the world overtake my reasonable faith? That is the concern. That is why we need daily reminders, to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the stench of the world. Stop and smell the world. Sniff it out. How does it smell? Don’t let it go without passing under your scrutiny. Examine it, question it, dissect it, define it. Break it down, before it breaks you.
That is how to be a true rebel, and to be true to yourself, instead of merely a rebel without a cause, and still being a part of the world.
DT helps with those daily reminders, but not if it becomes a ritual.
We need to read the word of God with the desire to affirm truth, in the midst of lies.
We need to see it as the antidote, for the poison that we take in.
We need to see it as the lifesaver, in the sea of confusion and irrationality.
Each day, we read the word, and go back to basics. What is life? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? As far as we know, nothing else in our world happens from nothing. Why would I live thinking our world happened from nothing, and natural stuff caused more natural stuff? Why would I choose to live irrationally in this way, in accordance to dumb things said by smart people, something as dumb as our world having caused itself? If we have something rather than nothing, what caused this something? What are the characteristics that this something must have, in order to cause our universe? What word would we call something with those characteristics? Okay so once you get to that point, what does this something want from us? What is it about us that doesn’t feel right? Why is there suffering in this world? Why do we want a world without suffering? Why do we see suffering as bad? If suffering is bad, then what is Good? Why do we all universally have a concept of what good and bad are, or what right and wrong is? Why do we cry at funerals? Why do we dislike separation? Why do we crave security? What security is there really in what we hold on to? Why does this world seem to offer so little when we want so much more? Why do we like music? Why are we sad when a song ends? What is it about the song that resonates with us? What is it about us that we all resonate with? What is love? How do we know we are loved? How do we know for sure? Why do some people start out thinking they love someone, and then regret it later? What is it that they love about love? Are there different forms of love? What is the most universal form? How do we communicate that love? What gets in the way of love? What do I do if someone doesn’t love me back? How do I love people if they hate what I might love? Am I to love when it is easy, or also love when it is hard? Why is it so hard in this world?
What would make living in this world easier? Should I aim to live an easy life? What is the cost of living an easy life? Why would I want to have an easy life? What are the characteristics of those who have an easy life? Are they happy? Am I?
A human who asks these questions would go far towards getting at the truth, and the truth will set them free. Arguably.
So, we need daily reminders, daily DTs, to affirm what is true, because everything else in the world affirms otherwise and affirms against the logical progression to these questions.
We need to have a clear renunciation of money, of worldliness, of anything that seeks to capture our hearts, and oftentimes it is through money. So what clear thing needs to be done, in my own life, that declares this to myself?
Am I laying up treasures on Earth or treasures in heaven? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Jesus said not do love money. It’s quite clear. What does it look like to love money, and why would someone love it? Why is it wrong?
Yet of course, concrete specifics does not show it in the heart. You could give a lot externally, to visibly not be gripped by money, yet inwardly still have it grip onto you, and cling on to your desires.
Jesus said do not love money, which is separate from those who simply have money. What does he say for them? As for the rich, charge them not to be haughty with their money, rely on God, and not on the money or stuff.
Take hold of that which truly abides forever. So, what is it in my own life that needs to be clarified in this way?
Jesus also said that we may be sanctified in the truth, and that God’s word is truth. How would I use the word to sanctify me, the clarify my position, and purify my desires?
This is the situation that we are placed in. We are deliberately sent into the world, for a purpose. It is not merely to be in the world but rejecting everything that the world has to offer, as a philosopher might, or an aesthete or an artist might.
How do I remain unsullied by the world? By being true to my identity, as spies, as one who is to infiltrate the world, and wrestle people out of from the grip of the world. Man, this is clarifying for my own approach with regards to my job search.
I am to become and remain an alternative to the world and its ways, so that when people, in their more honest moments, oppose the world, I can shed some light onto what the world is, and why we want more than what this world has to offer.
True Art, True Joy, True Love, and True Life.
Loving the people of the world, but hating the world and all that it stands for. Let me equip myself with the Word, to handle myself in the world.
Humble myself, for God gives grace to the humble. The proud will be opposed, and then we will be humbled.
God I don’t want to be worldly, I want to be more like you Jesus, and allow the word of God to be the word I live by.
In this world I will have tribulation, but in everything like those tribulations, I can therefore take heart, for you have overcome the world.
(Side Note, No Gods, no masters. Fight Club – The things we own end up owning us. So what is it that we own? We’re certainly not mainstream, not religious, not buying into the lies of the media. What do we own? We own our names, our identities, our causes, our sources of significance. Our hipster labels, our brands, our customs, or desires, and as we cater to those things, they end up owning us, and we end up worshipping that as our gods, instead of thinking we are godless.)